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The role of sexting and related behaviors to victimization via nonconsensual pornography

Full article title: The role of sexting and related behaviors to victimization via nonconsensual pornography: An exploratory analysis of university students

Open Access: No


Purpose. The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of university students with nonconsensual pornography. The focus of the present work is on nonconsensual pornography – the nonconsensual distribution of intimate images and sexual extortion – that are becoming common experiences for many people. While the forms of nonconsensual pornography may vary, each case has one thing in common: the offender has shared a private image of the victim without the victim’s consent.

Design/methodology/approach: The data for this study was collected from student participants at a southeastern university. The stratified sample of university students was sent a link to an online survey and the responses of those who chose to respond were used in subsequent analyses (n = 300).

Findings: The findings of this exploratory study show low self-control as a significant predictor of sexting. Significant predictors of victimization via nonconsensual pornography included participation in sexting and use of dating apps.

Originality/value: While not generalizable, the descriptive data provide an important landscape for consideration of policy and legal recommendations to protect potential victims as well as would-be perpetrators beyond a university setting.


“As predicted, low levels of self-control was a notable predictor in participating in sexting behaviors by this university student sample. This indicates these young adults are not considering the long-term  implications of sending sexual pictures and videos to others, but rather the short-term benefits affiliated with starting or maintaining a relationship with a casual or romantic partner (e.g. flirtation, attraction, sexual activity). Although almost 20% of study participants “had experienced victimization via nonconsensual pornography, the report of over 55% who had voluntarily texted sexual material indicates this age group is often not connecting the relationship between the two events.” Furthermore, “the impulsive, insensitive, physical rather than mental individual, who prefers simple and easy tasks, is likely to participate in sexting behavior. They will do so perhaps because they are unable to foresee the long-term consequences of their behavior or resist the temptation and, therefore, are likely to participate in sexting. Consistent with this view, those with low levels of self-control as a predictor of participation in sexting by this particular sample indicate individuals in this age group could be unaware of the victimization potential for participation in sexting, or may even experience an ‘invincibility complex’ of denial they could be victimized in this way…lower levels of self-control may make it difficult to conceptualize potential future dangers.”



Marcum, C.D., Zaitzow, B. H., & Higgins, G. E. (2022). The role of sexting and related behaviors to victimization via nonconsensual pornography: An exploratory analysis of university students. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 14(1), 43-60.

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